I am dedicating this article to answering a question posted by an independent contract business analyst. If you have a question or challenge about your business analyst career, post it as comment at the end of this article and I will answer it for you:
Here is the question posed by the independent contract or consulting business analyst:
… I got hired by a consulting firm. I was under the impression that I was with a company with a team-oriented environment. By this I mean that I thought I would be working with project teams etc.
I shortly realized that the company operated much like a ‘body shop’- I was put on contracts on my own. I shortly realized that I was operating almost like an independent contractor.
I read your article on independent consulting and lets just say that was my role but with very little experience. I have survived this environment … but now Im exhausted cause I never feel “caught up”. Im trying to make a career plan, but with the last few years I feel like I have lost the vision…??
I think I’m looking for some mentorship/direction…!
Here is my answer to the challenge facing the independent contract business analyst:
Not All Business Analyst Job Offers Are Good For You!
Years ago … in the middle of the last tech crisis when all tech jobs were gone, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin and had 3 job offers to choose from. One of the job offers was a full-time job offer from a consulting firm.
The full-time job offer looked good on the surface. I was new to Madison, Wisconsin, the job offer promised me a steady source of pay, zero bench time, a career path, a competitive salary and lot’s of opportunities to grow my career!
However, I did some research on the job offer and here is what I came up with:
Business Analyst Consulting Jobs Cloaked As Full Time Job Offers
Doing due diligence on the company and full-time job offer, I asked the interviewer, how many hours I would be working on a full-time basis?
The answer really surprised me … I was told anywhere from 55 to 60+ hours or as much work as it takes to get my work done!
That is when the first alarm bell went off … you see it is not uncommon to be asked to work a 45 hour week. But to work a 60 hour week, indicates a 12 hour work day! That sounded unusual for a full-time job offer.
Full-Time vs. Contract Business Analyst Salary, Wages and Compensation
Then I asked my second question .. How would I be compensated for the extra hours I would be investing in the position?
At that point, the interviewer paused and then answered that it depends on how the company does at the end of the year. If I do very well, I may get a bonus, etc. So, I did a quick mental calculation. Working 20 extra hours per week, 80 hrs. per month equates to 1,000 overtime hours. I then realized that in a true or real contracting position, I will be getting between $25,000 to $75,000 for that extra amount of overtime work!
How To Evaluate Business Analyst Contract Or Full-Time Job Offers
Are You Compensated Fairly? Are you working for a business analyst consulting firm that hires you as a full-time employee and then sends you out to work an extra 15 to 20 hours in overtime pay for a promise of end of year benefits, compensation adn a better life? If you do, are you then compensated at the end of the year at a rate commensurate or better than what you get paid … if you work those overtime hours as a contract business analyst?
Are You Trained To Do Your Business Analyst Job? If you work for a business analyst consultancy, you will be thrown into whatever work your employer finds. Employers are not that picky when it comes to accepting work from clients because they need to pay bills as well .. and I know this because I have been on the receiving end of both, first as an employee and then as an owner of a consultancy firm! However, an exceptional employer would give you work that is challenging but does not lie too far outside your skill sets without re-training you.
The challenge here is that you if you work as an independent contract business analyst, you are really in control of your own career and your own destiny. By this I mean that you can pick and choose the contract jobs that match your skill sets or that you are trained to handle. If you work as a business analyst for a business analyst consultancy, you may not be able to choose the assignments that match your background, skills, training and aspirations. You have to depend on your employer to make that choice for that.
If you find yourself working for a business analyst consultancy and being placed on projects that you are not prepared to handle, here is a quick solution:
- Get More Hands-On Business Analysis Training: You can take a look at the core skills required to perform the projects frequently assigned to your business analyst consultancy. Find the overlapping skills that are needed for the majority of projects, and then ask your employer for training on those skills
- Research Your Business analyst Job Offer Before Getting Hired: In my story, I asked the consulting firm, a few questions to determine if the position being offered was a good fit! I had three job offers and each of them paid better than the offer from the consulting firm. However, that is not the reason why I did not accept the job offer from the consultancy. I realized during the interview that the business consultancy firm was asking me to invest about 1,000 hours per year in overtime labor without a fair compensation plan. For the plan to have been fair, my base pay should have factored in all those extra over-time hours or I should have been offered an hourly pay after 40 to 45 hours of full-time work.
Is Your Business Analyst Job What You Signed Up For?
So, here is the action plan. You need to evaluate if your current business analyst job is a good fit for you … career wise! You are probably feeling over challenged about your current business analyst job because you knwo in your heart that it’s not quite what you signed up for!
You are missing the feeling of belonging to a real business analyst team. That is because your business analyst consultancy moves you from one project to another and from one client to another … because that is how consultancies generally operate! If you are lucky, you get to stay on one client or project for a long-time and build relationships with team members … but that is an exception and not a rule.
However, in a real full-time business analyst position where your employer is not a consultancy, you will have a much better chance to build relationships with team members, work as part of a team versus working in a solo fashion!
Also, why it is true to say that most business analysts need some form of training to do their job … since the range of required skills is generally wide, business analyst consultancies and business analyst contractors may need even more training … because they are expected to bring an expert set of business analysis skills to each client engagement!
What Is The Challenge Facing Your Business Analyst Career?
I hope I answered your question. If you have any question or challenge about your business analyst career, go ahead and post it as a comment at the end of this article and I will be glad to answer or solve it for you!